Long Beach expands Welcome Home program for veterans

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Corps serves more veterans with increased assistance packages.

The Long Beach Citadel Corps has once again expanded its Welcome to Your New Home program, which since 2013 has been providing “starter” kits to help furnish the homes of local veterans.

Major Judy Hedgren with veteran Barry Patin, receiving his “Welcome Home” kit.

Major Judy Hedgren with veteran Barry Patin, receiving his “Welcome Home” kit.

The kits have gotten bigger—to the kitchen basics such as dishes, glassware, flatware, pots and pans and utensils, the program has added one appliance, such as a Crock-Pot, toaster oven or toaster, as well as more items for the bathroom, such as rugs and shower curtains. At the same time, while recipients are still provided a $300 voucher to a Salvation Army Family Store, the Walmart gift card included has increased in value from $25 to $45. But the help isn’t limited to these one-time gifts.

“[We] make sure that they have plenty of food when they receive their kit, and remind them that they are welcome to come every two months for food, or monthly if needed,” said Major Judy Hedgren, social service and community coordinator for the Long Beach Citadel Corps. “We are also able to help with utility assistance if they are in need of that.”

The program began as a way to serve female veterans and their families, but has since expanded to help any veteran who has received a Department of Housing and Urban Development or VA Supportive Housing Program voucher and is referred to the citadel by a caseworker.

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